GENERAL INTIOBUCTrO.V INTLEXION. 73 Inflexion,—In the Tai languages, all pure Tai words are monosyllables; only words borrowed ±rom foreign languages, like kdcMri, a court-house, are polysyllabic. Every word, without exception, denotes, prinmuly, th^ idea of some thing, action, or condition, such as a man, a tree, striking, going, sleep, death, life, distance, propinquity, goodness, I, thou, he, she, it, Some of these words, such, for instance, as 'tree,' can only perform the functions of nouns substantive, or can only with difficulty be twisted into performing other functions. Other words, corresponding to what in Aryan languages we call * verbal nouns,' are capable o! being easily UM'tl in oilier functions. Thus, if in Ahom we wish to express the idea k slept' we say * sleep-completion}; if we wish to express' sleeps/ we say ' sleep -existence/ and if we wish to express ' will sleep/ we say ' motion-towards-sleep' It will thus be seen that the processes of what wo call declension and conjugation do not properly occur in Aliom, nor can we divide the vocabulary into parts of speech. The relations which, in Aryan" languages, we indicate by these two processes of inflexion arc in Ahom indicated, partly by the position oC the various words in the sentence, and partly by compounding vi ords together, "We cannot, properly speaking, talk of nouns and verbs, we can only talk of words- \ierforviuiy the functions of nouns or verbs. "When inflexion is formed by composition, most of the auxiliary words added to the main words have, as we have scon above, a, definite meaning, In some cases, however, these auxiliary words have lobt their meanings as original words, or, at least, we are not at present acquainted with them. In such cases we may talk o! these auxiliary words as perlormmg the functions of suffixes or prefixes. 4s an example of the "preceding, let us take the way in which the word bai, placing', may be treated. If we make it perform the function of what we call a noun, it means, ' a placing', 'a putting' (e.g., of a ring on a linger); or} 'putting (in a safe place)/ hence'watch- ing/ * taking care of'. But the idea of * putting5 includes the idea of laying down or putting on to some thing. Hence, bai comes to perform the function of a preposition, and may mean ' on * as in bai lawh on back, i.e., after. Again, if we wish it to perform the function of a verb the idea of ' placing' is treated as a verbal noun, is. sto place.* If, to this, we add the imperative suffix sfa, we get bctt-sJu* store. Nay* bai, by itself may be used as, what we should call, a present tense, and means ' he, she, it' or * (they) place,5 If, with this, we compound the word hupt whose-root idea is' collection,' we get hu^bai, collection-put, i.e.,c (they) save up,1 As to what function each word in a sentence performs, that is determined partly by custom. Although, theoretically, every word may perform the function of any part of jpeech; in practice, such is not the case. Some, such as po, a father; run, a house ; ban, a day are, by their nature, confined to the function of substantives. Some are usually either adjectives or verbs, such as pbiik, whiteness, "but usually either ' white,' or * to be white/ Others, such as e«f, take; hau, give, are in practice confined to the function of verbs, but others, like bai, above quoted, may perform any function.